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Summary:

The SD Association has a new way to consumers to rid themselves of plastic smart cards: use a smart SD card instead. The new memory card spec supports the NFC Secure Element and on-board applets for smartphones.

smartSD

Many new smartphones come with an NFC, or Near Field Communications, chip that lets the phone be used as a digital wallet. For security purposes, NFC transactions require a special authentication method and that can now be on a removable card. On Thursday, the SD Association announced a new standard for smartSD cards, a microSD memory card with a Secure Element for NFC transactions. The card can run wallet-like applets for digital payments when used with an NFC-enabled device.

smartSD

Instead of having different physical smart cards, applets could take the place of plastic. Why carry a different card for your bank, your transit pass and a retailer’s loyalty program, when software applications can take the place of these? Consumers would benefit by carrying (and potentially losing) multiple cards and instead just carry their phone.

The SDA already supports microSD cards that have both the Secure Element and an NFC chip, but this new spec is designed for devices that already have an NFC chip inside them. This solution can be helpful for those that use multiple devices; transferring the smartSD card — and therefore, the Secure Element — can allow for several phones to be used as digital wallets. And it makes it easier for consumers to switch carriers: with the smartSD card, the Secure Element comes along for the ride.

Clearly, the SDA is trying to take advantage of the widespread use of cards built to its specifications. The group says that microSD cards account for 95 percent of all mobile memory card shipments and that 78 percent of all mobile phone shipments have a memory card slot. With the new card standard, the SDA hopes e-commerce applets are built to run on the new cards, taking control away from carriers and device makers, both of which have their own digital payment aspirations.

  1. Many new smartphones come with an NFC, or Near Field Communications, chip that lets the phone be used as a digital wallet. For security purposes, NFC transactions require a special authentication method and that can now be on a removable card. On Thursday, the SD Association announced a new standard for smartSD cards, a microSD memory card with a Secure Element for NFC transactions. The card can run wallet-like applets for digital payments when used with an NFC-enabled device.

    smartSD

    Instead of having different physical smart cards, applets could take the place of plastic. Why carry a different card for your bank, your transit pass and a retailer’s loyalty program, when software applications can take the place of these? Consumers would benefit by carrying (and potentially losing) multiple cards and instead just carry their phone.

    The SDA already supports microSD cards that have both the Secure Element and an NFC chip, but this new spec is designed for devices that already have an NFC chip inside them. This solution can be helpful for those that use multiple devices; transferring the smartSD card — and therefore, the Secure Element — can allow for several phones to be used as digital wallets. And it makes it easier for consumers to switch carriers: with the smartSD card, the Secure Element comes along for the ride.

    Clearly, the SDA is trying to take advantage of the widespread use of cards built to its specifications. The group says that microSD cards account for 95 percent of all mobile memory card shipments and that 78 percent of all mobile phone shipments have a memory card slot. With the new card standard, the SDA hopes e-commerce applets are built to run on the new cards, taking control away from carriers and device makers, both of which have their own digital payment aspirations.

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  2. I guess the big question still remains, will carriers allow us to use the wallet software of our choice, or force us to use theirs. I don’t know if this new tech would change this problem or not

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  3. I was wondering if it is currently easy to move the mobile wallet among different devices where the SIM card is the secure element? Is moving a secure element all that is required to get a mobile wallet up and running in another device. It would seem that since our devices are constantly upgraded it would be a headache to have to re-enter all the information each time we switch devices.

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    1. That would work, Stuart, but still keeps the digital wallet control in the hands of carriers. I don’t like that idea. Here’s another example of a different service that’s too carrier controlled: NFL Mobile.

      Verizon looks to have exclusive rights so you’re fine if you’re a VZ customer, right? Not necessarily: it works on VZ devices but not Wi-Fi tablets even if you’re a VZ customer, i.e.: too much carrier control.

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      1. I guess I would like to see what the end-user has to do to avail of multiple functions or multiple payment systems on the same card. Would there be 2 different mobile wallet apps, one for bank A and another for bank B? What if they both offer their own smartSD cards? Are the apps pre-installed on the smartSD card or are they downloaded from somewhere? What if the device already has NFC and secure element, would that cause a conflict?

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  4. Did that video feature a really feature a Motorola Krzr?

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